“Hi I am not Espe, I don’t have big…” Alberto Cuesta Noriega pointed at his chest when doing the presentation of Esperanza Rodriguez Medina for the Audit Commission (AC) at the Agora Enschede. However, the real Esperanza was in fact elected for Audit Commission. So for the ones who did not meet her at the Agora, and the ones who would like to get to know a bit better, The AEGEEan suggests you to take a look here.
Currently, I am taking part in a very prestigious but demanding program of the Spanish government. Every year, around 4.000 people fight for 230 places. Those 230 get a grant for doing a Master in International Management and the best 180 afterwards get an internship in a Spanish embassy somewhere around the world. The opportunities are amazing, but you are being assessed for the ranking constantly, so the rules are also very strict. I had an exam that meant 10% of my final grade on the 4th of May. They don’t make any exceptions, so if I had missed it, I would have been out. You can’t imagine how sad I have been when I have got to know about the date of the exam, but I needed to go to Agora at least for the last day! I was driving Anna and Tim crazy the days before, because I wanted everything to be perfect and I was working a lot with them for all Audit Commission’s presentations. And also I was watching the streaming, reading the tweets, asking people on WhatsApp and texting Anna every day. Then, I had only one full day of the Agora, but it was a very intense one.
How did it feel to leave the responsibility of making your presentation to Alberto Cuesta Noriega?
I met Alberto during EBM-Riga and we became friends after meeting again in other events. Then, he moved to Madrid and we lived together for almost three months, so he saw all the work that I was doing. After that, we keep seeing each other often, so he knows me very well. I was sure he would do his best to represent me. Anyways, since I had the video to present myself, he didn’t have to do much. I was talking to him by WhatsApp during questions round (the streaming wasn’t working at that moment) and he was supposed to call me and put me on speaker to reply questions, but eventually, there were no questions for me!
Do you think he did a good job?
I wanted to kill him when I was told he made a joke about not being me… but yes, I have no complaints and I’m very grateful!
You had a quite good video, how did you come up with the idea and was it hard filming it?
I have always tried to make my presentations a bit different, because I want to change the image that the Audit Commission (AC) is just about boring people. I thought that not being there was a flaw, but I decided to turn it into an advantage! So I planned to do a similar presentation as the ones I did before, but adding some sketches on it.
About Turati’s call, I don’t know, I was talking to him at some point and the idea came to my mind.
The whip part had another source – I was talking to Chema Rueda Marin, from AEGEE-Zaragoza, and he dared me to include his antenna in my candidature presentation somehow. I don’t know how the exact idea came to me, but I just visualized it!
Recording it wasn’t very hard. The introduction was the worst part; I repeated it like five times until I liked it. But all the others worked at the first or second take. I guess it helped me that I have acted several times in small plays during high school and university. But specially, I had a great team helping: Juan (AEGEE-Madrid), Larita and Sara (AEGEE-Burgos) and Alberto. Actually, the hardest was the post production and adding subtitles, it took a lot of time for Juanola (AEGEE-Oviedo).
When I decided to candidate for the first time, I really wanted to improve things in AC work, and after one year, I keep the same spirit and level of motivation! I was very glad that we made such a great team with Anna Gots and Tim de Jong, and even if some ideas looked crazy at the beginning, we took all the challenges together. Of course it meant a lot of work, I think some people are still surprised that we actually made it, so we are very proud of it.
However, even though the results were amazing, doing something that involves a big change can’t work perfectly the first time. We realised about a few things that can be improved for the future and just some Knowledge Transfering sessions may not be enough. I didn’t really want our work to be lost and both, former AC and candidates, agreed that it would be better to have some continuance. Furthermore, there is some work in progress I feel committed to and I still have some ideas that I didn’t have time to implement yet.
How was it being elected by the Agora, how did you feel?
What can I say? It was awesome to get such a big support! I knew I was the most experienced candidate and many people approached me to tell me they loved my video. But still sometimes I can be very insecure. I was afraid some people may consider my video not serious enough, or that some people may have seen as irresponsible the fact that I didn’t attend the whole Agora (it could look like I didn’t care, when it was exactly the opposite)… So I was really amazed when I saw the results! I just wanted to go and hug everyone!
And of course, I feel that I have a great responsibility: I need to keep working harder than ever not to let all these people down!
What do you think about the large number of female candidates that were elected at the Agora? What does it demonstrate in your opinion?
I have worked or heard about the work of many of these women and they are all outstanding. I believe that they all deserve their positions.
Thankfully, the society has changed a lot regarding sexism, but there is still a lot of work to be done, especially in some regions (and of course, much more outside Europe). But the truth is that nowadays there are more and more women in universities, and since AEGEE is representing students, it makes perfect sense that there are more and more women running for positions in it. I also believe that it’s giving a great example towards externals and it’s only proving that in the future, we will finally live in an equal world.
Do you have any female idols? Do you look up to any female personality? (If yes, who and why?)
I look up to remarkable people for their specific actions, but I try not to focus my attention in one person, nor female, nor male. However, if I had to choose one, I would say Christine Lagarde (the President of the International Monetary Fund).
In general, I admire every woman that has achieved something in what used to be “men’s world” such as female CEOs and CFOs. Especially in the field of finances. I think women have proved to be as valid as any men, or even more. AEGEE is a good example of this, since there have been many female Financial Directors and Audit Commissioners. But still, this world is tricky for women and I cannot understand why women are worse paid than men for the same positions… So I admire all those women that fight everyday for this, making the path easier for the next generations.
The AEGEEan is sure that Esperanza is going to be one of those women making a difference as well!
Written by Patricia Anthony, AEGEE-København